Sunday, 18 July 2010 08:10

Blessed Sacrament School wins grant for bleachers in new gym

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Blessed Sacrament School in Springfield was recently named a winner in the Pepsi Refresh Project, entitling the school to a $25,000 grant. The grant money will be used toward the purchase and installation of bleachers in the new school gym. According to the Pepsi Refresh Project website the entire cost of the bleachers will be $43,326.

The gym will be constructed along the west side of the school property on Glenwood Ave., and is part of the $5.3 million Building on Tradition expansion. The project includes not only the new gymnasium, but a library and media center, a new preschool wing with two classrooms and an attached play yard, and an office wing. Enhancements will also include a new elevator and renovation of the school cafeteria.

For the past 86 years students have been using a long room with a tile floor and a now well-worn stage as their gym, gathering area and school lunch room. For decades, students have often been seated on the floor for assemblies and other gatherings. The area, sometimes affectionately called the “gymnacafetorium” by those who know it well, is also used as a lunch room, with tables set up from about 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. every school day.

Folding chairs are brought in for adult seating at school or PSR performances or meetings. Several years ago, while the church was being renovated, Mass was also celebrated in that area.

When the school gym is completed and the bleachers are installed Blessed Sacrament will be able to host sporting and scholastic events, said Kim Hoffman, director of development. “We are so grateful to everyone who voted for Blessed Sacrament and made this grant possible,” she said.

Blessed Sacrament competed with hundreds of other projects in an on-line voting competition to win the grant. The Pepsi Refresh Project ( will award more than $20 million in 2010 to move communities forward. Individuals can apply for grants to benefit a variety of projects and site visitors can vote for the best ideas for funding. Pepsi will fund projects that make a difference in six categories: health, arts and culture, food and shelter, the planet, neighborhoods and education.

The Building on Tradition project should be completed by the end of the 2010-2011 academic year.